Monday, 30 November 2020

Sierra de Loja and Huétor Fields, Granada Province, Spain.

A visit to the best spot on my local patch and then an afternoon walk.

Early morning arriving in Loja.
I drove over to the far side of the Sierra stopping on the way to take a couple of view shots but headed straight over to the Hawthorn trees to see which Thrushes were still about.
Looking out to the West.
I scanned the trees and the crags all the way out to the edge of the Municipal area where I turned around but not before I had counted 21 Alpine Accentors (Acentor Alpino / Prunella collaris) but this time they did not allow me to get any shot and only gave me fight views or sat right up on the highest crags out of reach.
Corn Buntings (Triguero / Emberiza calandra).
Down in the Hawthorns I found several Blackbirds (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), just 2 Redwings (Zorzal Alirrojo / Turdus illacus) and only a single Ring Ouzel (Mirlo Capiblanco / Turdus torquatus) but this was not surprising as there were next to no berries left on the trees.
Black Wheatear (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura).

Also seen in the area along the far crags were lots of Corn Buntings (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), at least 3 pairs of Black Wheatears (Collalba Negra / Oenanthe leucura) which all kept their distance, Common Chiffchaff (Mosquitero Común / Phylloscopus collybita), a male Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius) and Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata).
Off to the South West.
I dropped down to one of the watering holes down in the valley below where I waited for a while by the pool to see what came in, first there was a White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) followed by Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Rock Bunting (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia) and up above me on the crags Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor) and Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax).
Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae).
I drove back up to the crags and headed back along the track through the Hawthorns but only added Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Red-legged Partridges (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa) lots, Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina) and an Iberian Grey Shrike (Alcaudón Real Meridional / Lanius meridionalis) as well as Rabbit (Conejo / Oryctolagus cuniculus) and Spanish Ibex (Cabra montés / Cabra pyreaica).
Sierra Nevada from Sierra de Loja.
I passed the crags and dropped down passing Charca del Negro and back down the mountains, on the way I picked up Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), 4 Raven (Cuervo / Corvus corax) as well as several spikes of Broad-leaved Iris (Iris planifolia) and on one of the flowers there was a late Bath White (Pontia daplidice) which was catching a it of sun.
Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra).
Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata).
I got most of the way down and decided to check the Quarry track, I parked where I was amongst a group of leafless Hawthorns where I sat and had my lunch, as I sat there a pair of Dartford Warblers started to chase and display.
Broad-leaved Iris (Iris planifolia).
Bath White (Pontia daplidice).
I spent a couple of hours with these birds as the male sat for periods singing in the bushes and then chasing the female around the Gorse bushes .
Little Owl (Mochuelo Europeo / Athene noctua).
In the same area I also saw
Short-toed Treecreeper (Agateador Común / Certhia brachydactyla), Rock Dove (Paloma Bravía / Columba livia), Meadow Pipit (Bisbita Pratense / Anthus pratensis) and a calling Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major).
The Marble Quarry.
I dropped further down the hill towards Loja finding a very smart dark form of the
Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) which sat for a few moments giving me the time to take a few pic's.
Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris).
Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris).
Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris).
I went back through Loja, had a late lunch at the house before going down on to the fields for a walk, I did my normal route out to the Poplar Plantation. 
Common Stonechat (Tarabilla Común / Saxicola torquata) female.
On the Lucerne fields there lots of small birds including Meadow Pipits, White Wagtails, Hoopoes were also in good numbers still, Common Chiffchaffs,
Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea) and Crested Lark (Cogujada / Galerida cristata).
Spanish Sparrows (Gorrión Moruno / Passer hispaniolensis), some  males and who knows how many females

As I passed the Lucerne fields I turned right along the track following the Arroyo, in the reeds I found several Blackcaps (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), lots more Iberian Magpies, Blackbirds and plenty of Common Chaffinches
Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki).
Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki).
At the far end of the track I turned left and the went towards the Plantation and the walked back to the car, on the way I had many of the same species but added Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Grey Heron (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea), 5 Western Cattle Egrets (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), a hunting Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus) which was annoying the Spotless Starling flocks.
Sparrowhawk (Gavilán Común / Accipiter nisus).


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